Author Topic: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation  (Read 5840 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

EMuir

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1390
How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« on: December 31, 2012, 09:33:39 PM »
My sister in law is a sweet person who really does intend the best.  However, she likes the sound of her own voice.  She can talk for a long time about the color of her dog's fur or how her friend hates broccoli.  It's not just one statement, she will go on and on and repeat herself, even if we express to her that yes, we do understand the color she means, or yes, we understand her friend really hates broccoli.  If she was talking about something interesting it might be different. 

Is there any way to kindly tell a person they are a boring conversationalist?  Might it not help her in other areas of life if she hears it from us rather than a stranger? I just don't know.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21672
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 09:36:52 PM »
What is going on when she is doing this?  Are other people trying to talk?  Is it possible she is trying to fill the silence? Or is she just talking over people?

EMuir

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1390
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 09:46:21 PM »
She is an extrovert in a room full of introverts, all family.  We would like there to be silence occasionally, where someone else could maybe come in and say something.  Instead if you want to talk about something you have to jump in when she's taking a breath.  And then she'll find some way to relate what you are talking about back to her, and then go on about it, repeating herself again!  It's like she's scared of silence or something.

buvezdevin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1525
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 10:00:18 PM »
"hon, we love you, but let's give others a chance to speak, too - we aren't all as entertaining as you, but we all like to share!"
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

oopsie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 186
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 10:01:54 PM »
My MIL is like this. None of my SILs or myself want to be the one stuck sitting next to her at family gatherings for this reason. It's horrible to want to stay away but man oh man, is it ever annoying. Personally, I don't think there is anything to be done but just politely excuse yourself at an appropriate break in the conversation and move on.


Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21672
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 10:05:12 PM »
I think to some extent it sounds like a clash in style.  If she was interupting or talkingover people then she'd be rude to ignore cues.  But if there are moments of quiet and she is talking it is a bit harder to expect her to read which moments of quiet she is supposed to stay silent through and which ones she is allowed to speak into.

EMuir

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1390
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2012, 11:35:37 PM »
This person is coming to stay with us for a few days.  I will go insane if she talks constantly that whole time.  How can I tell her that silence would be golden without offending her?

Piratelvr1121

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11554
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 11:51:01 PM »
I knew a guy who did that, monopolizing conversations.  He is an extrovert married to an introvert (well for now anyway) and works part time while she works at least 40 and has a three hour round trip drive to and from work.  So he doesn't see her during the day and he would call DH during the day or me when we had a landline, and just talk, and talk, and talk.

Then when he ran out of things to talk about, did he say "Okay, time to go."? No, he started to repeat himself, ignoring any comments of "Oh yeah you've said that before." or "You just said that a bit ago."

If it weren't for the fact that he's in his mid 30's I'd wonder about Alzheimer's.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

mrkitty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 775
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 12:35:34 AM »
My DH says that everyone in my family must have been vaccinated with phonograph needles. We just can't stop talking. And, we're redundant. And when we get on the phone with each other...well, let's just say we're lucky we share the same wireless network or we'd be in trouble. What's worse is that we know how we are. But we just can't stop.

It's pathological.

My father was a narcissistic snowflake of the highest order. And everything, everything came back to being about him. He was his own favorite subject - and he'd just never shut up.

Unfortunately, I think we learned his communication style. See? I'm doing it right now. I can't stop!

Actually, EMuir, I suspect your sister may not be aware she's doing this. We verbose ones usually don't. And even when we do, it's a different matter entirely making it stop. Even though we'd really, really like to. We just don't know how. It's ingrained habit, and probably a harder addiction to break than heroin. It's even worse when we get nervous.

I think the only way you can really make any progress is to interrupt her and re-direct the conversation and do it consistently. That's the only way to help her, I think. And take her aside - privately - and have a serious, but kind, heart-to-heart talk with her about her communication style.

I hope this helps. And I apologize for myself and my too-talkative brethren - I really think most of us don't realize we do it, and don't mean to be rude - even though it is.  :'(
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 12:37:51 AM by mrkitty »
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

EMuir

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1390
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2013, 01:07:36 AM »
Thanks MrKitty! That's the thing, she's such a nice person and I don't know if she can stop talking... but redirecting conversation still means there's conversation! This time she's spending at our place isn't to visit us, it's to do some business in town.  But, I took the days off in order to relax.  As an introvert, I really want to be able to tell her that quiet would be nice now without offending her.

EmmaJ.

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1424
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 01:33:49 AM »
I'm just here for suggestions.  I have a dear coworker who talks incessantly - to the point where folks will call me and ask me to ask him a question for them - because he will explain and explain and re-explain and then start at the beginning and explain again.

And I don't dare laugh at any of his jokes.  Because that apparently encourages him to tell the same joke again - with scarcely a pause after the punch line!!

mrkitty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 775
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 01:38:09 AM »
Thanks MrKitty! That's the thing, she's such a nice person and I don't know if she can stop talking... but redirecting conversation still means there's conversation! This time she's spending at our place isn't to visit us, it's to do some business in town.  But, I took the days off in order to relax.  As an introvert, I really want to be able to tell her that quiet would be nice now without offending her.

Hmmmm. Yes, I see what you are saying. In that case, I think you just can't be subtle about it. I think the best thing to do is sit down and have that talk with her. No matter how gentle you are, her feelings *will* probably be hurt - I'm not saying that to upset you, just to let you know that in advance so you can be prepared. Just be firm, but gentle - explain the way you explained on the board here. I obviously don't know your sister, but if she's anything like me or my talkative siblings, the last thing she wants is to annoy you or anyone else. (Ironic, isn't it?) If she is open to it, maybe you can develop a secret signal to let her know when she's doing it again when you're in a group or at dinner (so she doesn't get embarrassed) and when you're alone together in private - and you just want to relax privately - you can be direct. It may take a few times of this practice - but it *does* work. My DH helps me with it when I have the need to reign it in.

I hope your sister is open to that. I bet she will be; you can put the idea to her that she's doing something to help you. (Help you relax by shutting it, that is!)  ;D

At the end of the day, though, this will help both of you - you get to unwind in relative peace, and I'm sure she can only benefit from developing more brevity - I'm certain her colleagues will love you for it!

I hope this reply wasn't too long-winded. It could have been much longer. Trust me.  ;)
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4630
    • My blog!
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 01:42:23 AM »
I guess what I'd do is to jump on the introvert/extrovert thing.  Tell her gently that, while you suspect that she's an extrovert, the rest of the family are introverts.  Which means that having to keep up with a conversation is exhausting, and sometimes they need some quiet time to recharge.  And for them, quiet times aren't awkward or full of "we don't know what to say to each other," they're just moments of relaxation and peace.  You might also mention that the others aren't very good at jumping into conversations.  That often, by the time they think of something to say, "people who are more extroverted" (herself, really, and we're using "extroverted" here in the wrong way to mean "incessant talker," but I think it's kinder) have moved on with the conversation and the quieter people can never manage to say what they want.  That maybe she could try leaving longer pauses sometimes, and waiting to see if anybody else wants to comment.  Or she could ask questions here or there, to try to give others a way into the conversation.  If you approach it as, "You're really good at conversation, but some of us have trouble jumping into the conversation--can you help them join in?" then she might see it as helping the quieter ones, rather than the normal ones telling her, as an excessive talker, to hush.

mrkitty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 775
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2013, 01:46:19 AM »
Yes. What  MommyPenguin said.
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

Redsoil

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2116
Re: How to tell someone to stop monopolizing conversation
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2013, 07:51:47 AM »
One thing I've found that has helped in the past is to say to someone:  "You know what I love about people I'm close to?  That we don't have to talk all the time - we can just be comfortably silent together."
Look out... 
It's one of the Aussie Contingent!